by Krystal Paco
Guam - Should early-out retirement become an option to cut costs, GovGuam's largest agency could feel a massive blow. Of the Department of Education's 4,000 employees, 700 are eligible for the early out retirement plan, 300 of which are teachers.
DOE deputy superintendent Rob Malay says these employees have worked the minimum 20 years to meet eligibility of the cost-cutting measure. Eligible DOE employees however are voicing concerns as leaving GovGuam sooner could affect how their annual leave is paid out as well as their overall compensation packages.
For George Washington High School's Salvador Avilla, who's worked 25 years as a teacher and 15 as an administrator, the proposal could cripple doe's already struggling day-to-day operations. "It would cripple it," he said. "I think right now we're already short on personnel and that's why services are slowing down.
"It will affect DOE greatly especially if a lot of those are teachers. Who would take their place in the classroom? If they're going to hire them back and I don't think they can, where are they going to find these teachers? They're going to have to rethink that offer out and allow the teachers to retire and return to work the next day."
Avilla is referring to special contract or limited-term teachers.
Malay says this could be an option to maintain the number of teachers in the classrooms, should hundreds of DOE employees opt for early out retirement. He said, "A special contract can be defined by a teacher who has left the system but still maintains their teaching certificate and so they come back in a year-to-year basis. They don't earn sick leave or personal leave or things to that nature. They just come back into the system to fill teaching vacancies."
Malay assures KUAM News that once a new, fully certified teacher is hired, special contract or limited-term teachers are removed. Meanwhile, Malay says DOE is willing to assist and embrace cost-cutting measures.